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Gaffer on a Sunday

23 March 2014

Steve Evans talks to

Tuesday evening’s big League One match at New York stadium with high flying Brentford is now the focus for manager Steve Evans but we caught up with him this morning for our weekly Gaffer on a Sunday feature.

Yesterday was your 100th game in charge of the Millers which was capped with a terrific victory over Peterborough United, what are your reflective thoughts this morning?

As I said in the build-up to the match it is an honour to manage and serve such a fantastic football club with supporters who I am proud to try and win football matches for. To achieve a win ratio in excess of 50% is just fabulous and as I said a lot of people deserve special recognition. My Chairman Tony Stewart, Vice Chairman Richard Stewart, Chief Operating Officer Paul Douglas plus of course my staff and players who I have to say do me proud. The Millers support are honest people, hard working and give their football club and myself personally the most incredible support, no words I could say would tell them how much it means to me.

My 100th match in charge of Rotherham United was against the team in my adopted hometown, a football club I have a lot of respect for but it was a match we had to give everything to be successful in and my players delivered that. Our performance against a very good Peterborough United team was strong, full of quality and also having watched the match back this morning on DVD it was a match we certainly deserved to win. Our opponents are a quality team with some exceptional players for the level whilst we are a team who is still evolving with a long way to go until I am satisfied with what we have.

We have a dressing room full of players who want to work hard, accept they get very few days off as they understand they need to improve. There is a unity in working hard, staff and players. Our dressing room is as one, the team spirit is exceptional but at the same time the accepted standards in everything we do must remain very high.

We have moved up to fourth in the League One table with nine matches in the season left and we still have a game in hand over Preston North End. We host second in the league Brentford, on Tuesday evening, another stern test?

Managers will often say they do not look at their league table but I do not believe them, everyone looks every day! For me it is an accurate assessment of how you are performing. I accept there will always be teams with matches in hand and so on but you can still make a judgement for sure.

My only focus is our match with Brentford here at New York stadium on Tuesday night. I have watched Brentford on a number of occasions, in summary they are an outstanding team and are full of quality players.  I know now that match will be a huge test for us and of course it comes on the back of a really tough match at Peterborough United but my lads are incredibly fit, they will be fresh. I have no doubt there will be a big crowd behind us, the Millers support never let us down, they know their football and they like me know it is going to be tough.

Can you update us on the injury situation?

Yes of course. As I said on Friday Mark Bradley will miss the remainder of the season and he will have a knee operation next week, when called upon he has been excellent so it is a real shame for not only us but the lad himself. Wes Thomas has trained for a couple of days and will again tomorrow, he is certainly in contention for Tuesday night.

The emergency loan transfer window closes for the season on Thursday afternoon, are we likely to see any departures or arrivals?

In respect of departures it is certainly a no. We have a small squad in comparison to most others in League One, especially compared to those clubs in the top 10.

Regarding players coming in, the answer to that has to be that we are trying to add. I have a responsibility to my Chairman, staff, players and supporters to make sure I have covered every position. If we can do what a number of managers don't think we can and secure a play-off place our season automatically extends by another two matches and hopefully by three so we need to be able to deal with whatever is thrown at us.

I told my players and staff after the win at Peterborough United yesterday that nothing has been achieved; we are still in a fight with others to get one of these play-off places. If I see any lapse in our focus from any individual I will jump on it, there cannot be any room for complacency because in football when that arrives you get the biggest kick you can imagine.  Brentford is our focus, as good a team as our supporters will see in League One so we had all better be ready for Tuesday night!

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